The San Antonio City Council is expected to decide Thursday whether to put Mayor Julian Castro's Pre-K 4 SA proposal on the ballot in November.
It would call for a sales tax increase of 1/8 of a penny over the next eight years to expand early childhood development, including full day classes and additional training for pre-k teachers.
Seven former San Antonio mayors have written City Council, urging they vote to put the Pre-k 4 SA proposal before voters.
The letter was signed by Henry Cisneros, Lila Cockrell, Ed Garza, Phil Hardberger, Howard Peak, Bill Thornton and Nelson Wolff.
They said the ballot initiative would fund “high quality pre-kindergarten” for thousands of 4-year-olds.
Castro has said it would cost the average household less than $8 a year.
Their letter also said the mayors see the proposal “as a significant step toward creating the kind of educated workforce that will fuel San Antonio’s future economic prosperity.”
Addressing in part any concerns about the program’s accountability, the letter also said if adopted, the program would have “the guidance of City Manager Sheryl Sculley, an active governing board and council oversight.”
The letter also said the initiative comes at when federal and state governments are shrinking education budgets.
However, Thursday’s City Council vote may not be unanimous.
District 8’s Reed Williams, District 9’s Elisa Chan and District 10’s Carlton Soules have each questioned Castro’s proposal, also known as the Brainpower Initiative.
“Everybody’s going to question everything,” said Salvador Sifuentes, a grandfather who lives near the Medical Center. “Sometimes you’ve got to stop and think. See what’s going to benefit the kids.”
Sifuentes said even if more children qualify in certain parts of town, they will grow up as citizens of the city of San Antonio.
Wade Ferri, a voter and taxpayer in San Antonio, said he could live with a sales tax increase.
“I just want to make sure that all kids have a fair chance,” Ferri said. “One-eighth of a cent? No one’s going to feel that.”